Go Skins.

August 22, 2008 at 8:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I recently got back to site from mid-service med checks and presentations. It is standard for volunteers to come into their capital city after one year of service to visit the doctor, the dentist, to see their old friends, and to give some presentations on their work. The trip to the doctor went well. The only problem was, a day after arriving in Lima I came down with a big case of sick. Apparently, now I’m fine with Peruvian food, but cannot eat American food (curse you Ronald McDonald! You and your tasty chicken nuggets!) I had one cavity which I’m not too upset about, and I had the opportunity to present to the newest group of volunteers (Peru 11) and they laughed at all my jokes, so can’t complain there.

Well, it was great, really great, to see everyone. All seemed happy with site, happy with work, happy with their lives. This is good because apparently most groups have one or two more people leave after the one year mark, but I have a lot of fe (that is faith) that the rest of Peru 9 is going to stick it out to the end. I enjoyed seeing everyone and spending time with everyone. I hate to stray into the land of cliches, but I do feel like everyone in the group is like family. It was fun to celebrate everyone’s hits and commiserate over the misses over the last year. One of my favorite parts of getting together is how we all try to top each other with wacky stories about host families, animals or insects, getting sick, or other adventures. For one, we have a poop your pants club and over 50% of the group is a member (I, for the record, am still waiting to join…any day now!)

Before leaving training last August, we all wrote letters to ourselves (mine starts: Dear Future Danielle, ) to be opened during mid-service meetings. This is a great idea! I should do this every year! If you are reading this, you should go home tonight, write a letter to yourself, stash it somewhere, and then find one of those online birthday e-mail reminders to remind you to open it one year from today. I asked myself a lot of questions, and gave myself some helpful tips (some excerpts):

– if you haven’t yet done so, learn some jokes in Spanish
– be careful of ladrones (thieves)! (this was written right after I almost got robbed)
– did you cut your hair? is it ugly?
– maybe you should learn how to play soccer? maybe not.
– did the ‘skins win the superbowl? This is their year!!! (whoops)

…etc etc etc.

Anyways, it’s funny how I feel like I have come so far and changed so much. In reading my letter to myself, I have the same concerns, I have the same goals, I have the same bad jokes. It makes me feel constant, and it makes me feel proud. I’m happy to be in good spirits, like I was a year ago. I’m really happy I’m not sick anymore; I wrote the letter during the time when I was making hourly trips to the bathroom for days on end, and now I remember how un-fun that was. Through all the emotional and physical ups and downs of the last year, I’m just happy to know I’m still me, the me that arrived here all bright eyed and bushy tailed one year ago. I guess I’m a little less bright-eyed, and my tail is slightly less bushy, but that is okay. I have a better understanding of where I am, of what I’m supposed to be doing, and what I actually do and do not have the capacity to get done. These are all good things! Plus, my Spanish is better.

The best part about mid-service med checks, and I think that this was the point, is it got me excited about what I’ve accomplished, and for what there is to come. Realizing that you have not two Septembers, but only one left in Peru gives you a good kick in the ass to get your projects moving, because from here on out, things are winding down. Now it doesn’t feel like passing the time until service is over, but that time is quickly running out.


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